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Court orders company to compensate worker who committed suicide from long overtime hours

The Kumamoto District Court on January 22 ordered an auto-parts manufacturer to pay 74 million yen in compensation to the bereaved family of a worker who committed suicide from long overtime hours.

Yamada Akitomo worked for the Yamada Manufacturing Co.'s division in Kumamoto Prefecture which manufactures motorcycle parts as a subcontractor of Honda. Soon after he became a team leader in April 2002, he was scolded by his superior for delays in production.

The 24-year-old worker killed himself the next month. His monthly overtime was 128 hours in the month immediately before his death and 119 hours two months before.

In March 2004, the Labor Standards Inspection Office acknowledged Yamada's case as work-related. The bereaved family in the suit demanded that the company pay 93 million yen for neglecting to take safety measures.

The court acknowledged the causal relation between his suicide and physical and mental damages caused by the abnormally long working hours.
- Akahata, January 23, 2007

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